NMMA, Virginia Key Advisory Board continue discussions on boat show venue

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and the Virginia Key Advisory Board (VKAB) met again recently to discuss maximising use of the island that hosts the trade association’s Miami International Boat Show (MIBS) and the Miami Marine Stadium.

VKAB reports to the city of Miami, which owns most of Virginia Key. The city spent almost US$20m to upgrade infrastructure when the show moved from the Miami Beach Convention Center to the Key in 2016, according to the Islander News.

In response to earlier board inquiries about moving the mid-February timing of MIBS, to bring its economic impact to the community ahead of the peak winter tourist season, NMMA explained the logistical and financial hurdles such a move would make, as the majority of the association’s 18 boat shows take place “during the January through March time frame as it is the primary selling period for boat dealers.”

NMMA told the board that set-up/tear-down times are as short as they can be, starting with a review of construction and marina preparations in the second week of December. Neighbours are consulted to ensure minimal interruption. Access to the Rowing Center and the City Marina continue through January 24, after which it is diverted through an adjoining property. By late February, normal access to the most of the island is restored, and the show is completely moved out by March 15.

VKAB, local citizens and other interested parties are in an ongoing debate over the best use for the public lands on Virginia Key, and how to further develop the property if a planned rehab of the famed Miami Marine Stadium goes forward.

In 1963, Miami-Dade County conveyed the property to the city with the caveat that it be used for a public park, which some say limits the development potential of Virginia Key.